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> Features
MARK MILLAR ON THE ‘WANTED’ MOVIE
The creator explains how the film project will be ‘the opposite of the Spider-Man movie’ and shares his rejected idea to reboot the Superman franchise

By Justin Aclin

Posted December 3, 2007  5:00 PM

WIZARD: You visited the set of “Wanted” in Chicago. How did that go?

MILLAR: They were terribly nice. Back in the old days, creators, especially writers, used to be at the bottom of the heap and nobody even calls you. So it was nice to see all the stars and feel important for a few days.

The film has some great talent attached, like Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie and up-and-comer James McAvoy…

MILLAR: You never really value how good casting directors can be, you know? When I was writing the thing, I [pictured] Eminem, Halle Berry and so on. You realize how smart these people are, just finding somebody as brilliant as [James] McAvoy, who I was completely unaware of at the time. He probably gives the most powerful performance, based at least on what I saw, and he’s up against world-class talent!

What was it like to watch these actors play out scenes from your comic?

MILLAR: There’s a scene with the main bad guy, who’s played by Morgan Freeman, [that] was very specifically from the comic. But my crappy lines seemed to have incredible dignity when they were coming out of Morgan Freeman’s mouth. That was the moment I realized how amazing actors are. These guys can turn sh-- into gold!

It’s been reported the “Wanted” movie deviates from your story by taking out the superpowered element.

MILLAR: Yeah, well, the weird thing is they did what I had planned to do and then forgot to do it, which is not put [the characters] in costume. I don’t know why, but for some reason we ended up putting them in costume in the comic, and I really didn’t want to do that. I wanted them to have those powers and then just wear those costumes for the initiation, but just for one panel. And then I forgot. I’d have liked [the filmmakers] to keep the supervillain mythos. That’s one thing I’m kind of sad they didn’t keep, ’cause I really liked that, the idea that supervillains and heroes did exist at one point and they’re all gone now.

But other than that, were you happy with the script?

MILLAR: Once [director] Timur [Bekmambetov] came aboard, it started looking great. I was out there about a year ago looking at some stuff they’d been putting together, and I really expected it to be crap, because I didn’t like the first draft of the script. I wanted the film to basically be the opposite of the Spider-Man movie, the idea of someone getting powers and realizing they can do what they want, then choosing the dark path. The [script] I read was just too tame. It just seemed a little bit Americanized. But Timur came in with his Eastern European madness, and he really made it nasty. He went closer to the spirit of the book, so I’m very happy with the end result.

If another one of your creator-owned books gets optioned, would you be interested in writing that script yourself?

MILLAR: Sony was talking to me about doing Chosen, the second of my creator-owned books, and they said, “You know, obviously, you’ll be writing the screenplay yourself.” I said, “Well, is that an option? I didn’t realize I could even do that sort of thing, y’know?” And they said, “Yeah, of course.” So I’ve been talking to them about that, but as a whole, it really is a whole new discipline. And I appreciate having a learning curve, so what I’m going to do is have a shot at it, but not feel too embarrassed if someone comes along and cleans it up for a second write or a third write, or whatever. I recognize that movies are quite collaborative.

When it was reported the “Superman Returns” screenwriters weren’t going to write the sequel, you immediately volunteered to write the script practically for free. What’s your story, in the broadest of strokes?

MILLAR: In the broadest of broad strokes—because I genuinely do plan to do this and everybody thinks it’s crazy—but you have no idea how much stuff I’ve been doing in the background to make this happen. For starters, I think the Superman [movie] project’s very toxic. Nobody’s gonna touch it for a few years. And I think when it does happen, they’ll start over, and they know I’m interested.

My idea very simply would be just a reboot, to start over again in the same way the Christopher Reeve/Richard Donner movie owed nothing to the George Reeves TV series. So, start on the ground floor, make it something somebody who’s 7 years old or up will be into, and don’t be afraid to do your own thing. Superman should remain the same, but everything around him I’d just play with. I see it as an eight-hour trilogy, like “Lord of the Rings.”

Catch “Wanted” in theaters on March 28, 2008.
 
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